Since the 2016 Rio Olympics, the city has emerged as an exciting option for an adventurous golf vacation. We pick some of the best golf courses and hotels in this fabulous city.
Golf is relatively new to Brazil, but the future looks bright following the Olympics, the first time since 1904 that the sport had been part of the global event. And there’s direct flights available from all over Europe to the country’s emerging golfing capital.
On your trip you can visit the world famous beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema, ‘Christ the Redeemer’ towering above the city, go on a cable car ride up Sugarloaf Mountain, and, if you visit in February, enjoy some winter sun and the world famous Rio Carnival.
Olympic Golf Course
Designed for the 2016 Olympics by a famous American architect Gil Hansethe Olympic Course is a true championship layout where Great Britain’s Justin Rose and South Korea’s Inbee Park won gold medals. It’s open to the public and is beautifully maintained with open fairways, large greens and a couple of lakes. There are rental carts, a driving range, four par-3 practice holes, and golf lessons. With an open layout, it’s great for all levels and provides views of the surrounding ocean and mountains. The clubhouse also has a great restaurant.
Gavea Golf & Country Club
This has to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world, a combination of rolling hills, sea and native vegetation. Its conveniently close to central Rio but feels a world away, set between the peak of Pedra da Gavea and the Tijuca Forest with fantastic views of the Atlantic. As its in a tropical valley, it’s steep in places and provides a test when approaching into the perfectly manicured greens. This course is idyllic with some unforgettable views and well worth a visit.
Itanhanga Golf Club
Another great course, nestled in the hills around Rio around 30 minutes from the city center. Improved in 2018 after renovation, the club offers 18 holes on its championship course, and recent additions include a further 9 holes. It’s a relatively flat golf course but with a wide variety of trees, creating a very scenic landscape. It’s a peaceful parkland layout with ponds and streams to navigate. There are golf lessons, a driving range, golf carts, and a bar and restaurant.
Gran Melia Nacional Rio de Janeiro
After undergoing a total renovation, the five-star Gran Melia Rio de Janeiro is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Rio, in a fantastic location on Sao Conrado beach, a stunning stretch of unspoilt coastline where thrill seekers can enjoy a host of water sports. The city center is a 30-minute drive away, so it feels like a peaceful idyll from the hustle and bustle, but close enough to enjoy the city’s culture. Ipanema and Copacabana are just 15 minutes away by car. Gavea Golf Country Club is just five minutes drive away; Itanhanga Golf Club around 20 minutes away, while The Olympic Golf Course is less than 30 minutes away.
Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro
Located in a fantastic spot on 10 miles of unspoilt beach overlooking the Marapendi Lagoon and Rio’s buzzing Barra de Tijuca neighborhood, the five-star Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro hotel is a great choice for your golf trip with all the amenities you would expect from such a luxurious destination. Brilliant for golfers, it’s perfectly situated to enjoy Rio’s best golf courses. Itanhanga Golf Club and Gavea Golf Country Club are just 15 minutes away by car, while The Olympic Golf Course is less than 10 minutes away.
Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort
The five-star Sheraton Grand Rio Hotel & Resort is a great place to stay for those who want to enjoy some of Rio’s best attractions, but from a tranquil beach location. Nestled in rich tropical vegetation, the resort is conveniently located halfway between the upmarket neighborhood of Barra de Tijuca and Ipanema where guests will find a variety of restaurants, shops and bars. The Olympic Golf Course is just 25 minutes away by car, while Gavea Golf Country Club is just 10 minutes away, and Itanhanga Golf Club around 20 minutes.
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